Starving to See Every Bit: A Review of Brian Doyle’s One Long River of Song

There’s a special kind of glory in the writing of those who bring extraordinary attention and a capacious spiritual vocabulary to the business of describing the world as it is. The Irish seem to have such glory in spades, even in the diaspora. And it certainly touched the late Brian Doyle, whose essays have been […]

Without the Moon, Where Are We?: A Review of Ross Douthat’s Decadent Society

It’s not that Ross Douthat is angry with us, he just seems disappointed. We have the potential to do so much more with ourselves, as a civilization, but we’re culturally exhausted, economically stagnant, and unable to muster the wherewithal even to reproduce ourselves. Really, ever since the moonshot in 1969 we haven’t had our mojo. […]

Finding All Things in Christ: The Belated Review of Colossians

He’s never been known for his crystal clarity, but Paul, (often called the Apostle Paul), has a way of captivating you with the propulsive thunder of his rhetoric. Sure, there are elements of his writing that make a 21st century Christian cringe, (behavioral guides for slaves?!), but there’s also a cosmic vision of Christ as […]

Discovering Carson, Discovering Herself: A Review of My Autobiography of Carson McCullers

Jenn Shapland is no doubt right that those who fall under the spell of Carson McCullers are an obsessive lot. (And I count myself among them.) As she surveyed the landscape in writing her new book My Autobiography of Carson McCullers, she found that “everyone had a claim to lay, an attachment to prove. Everybody […]

An Old Man Remembers Love, (and You’ll Want to Read It)

I made the mistake of introducing myself to Philip Roth by reading one his later work. Indignation, a 2008 novel, drew on some of Roth’s familiar themes—Jewish identity, American identity, relationships—but it had none of the spark I was hoping for. It felt like an older man’s attempt to imagine himself back into first love. […]

The Evil and The Magnificent: Katherine James’ Story of Love and Addiction

There are so many ways that a story of addiction can go wrong, especially when it is narrated within a framework of fall and redemption. On one level, the stories are so similar that we feel we can trace the arc before opening the cover—the prelapsarian idyll, the first hints of trouble, the descent into […]

Saying Goodbye to Twitter Me: A Review of The Problem with Everything

For me, it happens when I go to the Twitter feed after some recent ‘problematic’ event or statement has hit the news. Immediately the folks I have chosen to follow, ‘influencers’ among them, stoke the little fires of irritation I might have felt and before long lure me into the Twitter-sanctioned indignation I should be […]